We often hear protein being spoken about in the context of building lean muscle, but there are other reasons it’s so important to include this macronutrient, especially first thing in the morning. In this article, I’ll explain what we need protein for, why it’s important to eat a high-protein breakfast and how it can set you up for a better day.
Why do we need protein?
It’s likely that you’ve already come across the fact that the human body is made up of trillions of cells. Well, every single one of those cells needed protein to form properly, and still need protein to perform their functions. In addition to building tissues (including muscle), we also need protein for the following processes and more:
- Transporting nutrients into cells
- DNA regulation
- Producing the chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters
- Creating enzymes that facilitate various processes, such as digestion
- Maintaining fluid and pH balance
Whatever your health and wellness goals may be, protein is so fundamental that it is likely to be playing a big part in helping you achieve them. In fact, protein is an often overlooked as a tool.
Why is it important to eat a high-protein breakfast?
Eating enough protein, particularly in the morning, helps to promote balanced blood sugar levels throughout the rest of the day. In turn, this will give you more sustained and lasting energy. It also helps to regulate the appetite, keeping us feeling nice and full between meals and snacks. This is large due to the fact that protein helps to slow down digestion (in a good way). The result? We don’t get those blood sugar spikes and crashes that leave us with brain fog and a hankering for a sugary fix.
A chronically low intake of protein can increase our risk for injury, an impaired immune system, unwanted weight gain and mood changes. No thanks!
How much protein should a breakfast have?
Guidelines suggest eating 0.75-1 g of protein per kg of body weight each day. Athletes and people who are very active should eat closer to 1.3 g per kg of body weight per day. It’s important to spread this amount across your meals and snacks throughout the day. This is because the body will only absorb a finite amount of protein each time we eat. I suggest aiming for approximately 20 g of protein at breakfast.
5 high-protein breakfast ideas
- 2 eggs on wholewheat seeded toast with avocado and crumbled feta = 20 g protein
- 1 tub Greek yoghurt with mixed nuts and berries = 17 g protein
- A milk-based smoothie with protein powder and fruit = 25 g protein
- Veggie and cheese omelette with seeded toast = 20 g protein
- Smoked salmon breakfast frittata = 24 g protein
Now that you know the importance of getting enough protein, especially in the morning, take some time to weigh yourself and work out how many grams of protein you should be eating every day. Mornings can be chaotic, so you can also use this opportunity to sit down and meal prep your brekkies for the week so you can ensure you’re getting the protein you need for the day ahead.
If you’re an athlete and aren’t fully on track when it comes to your fueling, I’m currently taking on new clients! Book your appointment with me to get started.